BTCC: Donington test 17/3/98

News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Donington Park, 17/3/98 THOMPSON QUICKEST IN FIRST DONINGTON TESTS Two young British drivers topped the timesheets at Donington Park this afternoon (Tues) in official testing...

News from the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Donington Park, 17/3/98

THOMPSON QUICKEST IN FIRST DONINGTON TESTS

Two young British drivers topped the timesheets at Donington Park this afternoon (Tues) in official testing for the Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship. Ahead of the pack was Honda's 23-year-old star James Thompson, with Jason Plato, 29, just five- hundredths of a second slower in his Renault.

Thompson's run of good form - he was at or near the top of the field in both of last week's test sessions at Oulton Park - raises hopes that 1998 could see a Brit on top of the BTCC for the first time since John Cleland in '95. Cleland was himself on good form today, lapping the Leicestershire track three-tenths slower than Thompson to record fifth-best time. Sweden's Rickard Rydell was third fastest for Volvo ahead of the Renault of reigning champion Alain Menu.

There were strong performances also from the independent runners - now enjoying the benefits of tyre equivalency with the works teams. Fastest of them was Matt Neal, 12th overall in his Nissan Primera, with Norwegian Tommy Rustad 14th in his Laguna. There's further testing scheduled for Donington on Thursday (Mar 19).

l This afternoon also saw the first rehearsal of the BTCC's new 'one-shot showdown' qualifying procedure, in which competitors will establish their grid positions for Sprint Races with a single 'hot lap'. Thompson took the honour of fastest time in this session also, recording an even better time (1m 09.831s) than his 'official' best.

Auto Trader RAC British Touring Car Championship Official testing / Donington Park, Leicestershire / 17 March 1998

1  James Thompson  GB  Honda Accord  1m 10.512s 99.93mph
2  Jason Plato  GB  Renault Laguna  1m 10.561s
3  Rickard Rydell  SWE  Volvo S40  1m 10.805s
4  Alain Menu  SWI  Renault Laguna  1m 10.812s
5  John Cleland  GB  Vauxhall Vectra  1m 10.854s
6  Peter Kox  NL  Honda Accord  1m 10.896s
7  Anthony Reid  GB  Nissan Primera  1m 10.979s
8  Tim Harvey  GB  Peugeot 406  1m 11.029s
9  Gianni Morbidelli  ITA  Volvo S40  1m 11.046s
10  Yvan Muller  FRA  Audi A4  1m 11.075s

-- BTCC official website www.btcc.co.uk

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About this article
Series BTCC
Drivers Anthony Reid , Peter Kox , Yvan Muller , Tim Harvey , James Thompson , Jason Plato , Matt Neal , John Cleland , Rickard Rydell , Gianni Morbidelli , Alain Menu